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Environment and Health Departments Issue Smoke Advisory for Pecos, Jemez Springs, And La Cueva

The New Mexico Environment Department and New Mexico Department of Health today issued a smoke advisory for areas of New Mexico affected by smoke from the Tres Lagunas and Thompson Ridge wildfires.  

The most significant smoke impacts from the fires are expected in the communities of Pecos, Jemez Springs and La Cueva, tomorrow morning.  Potentially unhealthy conditions (visibility of 1.5 to 2.75 miles or less) could occur in communities from active fire overnight and in the early morning. 

“Smoke can hurt your eyes, irritate your respiratory system, and intensify chronic heart and lung problems,” saidDepartment of Health Cabinet Secretary, Retta Ward, MPH. “People with heart and/or lung disease, adults over age 65, young children, and pregnant women should minimize outdoor activities during wildfires when the visibility is 3-5 miles. Close doors and windows to limit smoke inhalation and be sure you have the medicines needed for chronic heart or lung disease.”

Other areas such as Las Vegas, Los Alamos, Santa Fe and areas south of Santa Fe may experience periods of air quality which are Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (visibility of 3 to 5 miles) Wednesday morning.   When the visibility starts to go below 5 miles, sensitive groups should minimize outdoor activities until air quality improves.  Everyone else should minimize prolonged or physical activity outdoors until air quality improves. 

The New Mexico Environment Department and the U.S. Forest Service operate air quality monitors at multiple locations around the state. The monitors gather information about air quality conditions and help to keep the public informed. Data from the Environment Department and Forest Service air monitors can be found at http://air.nmenv.state.nm.us and https://www.airsis.com/usfs//.

Because there are not monitors everywhere, your eyes are your best tools to determine if it’s safe to be outside.  Even if you smell smoke, the air quality may still be good.  Remember: if visibility is 11 miles and up, the air quality is Good; six to ten miles, air quality is Moderate; three to five miles, air quality is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups; one and a half to two and three quarter miles, air quality is Unhealthy; one to one and a quarter miles, air quality is Very Unhealthy; and one mile or less, air quality is Hazardous. 

For guidance on distances and visibility, please visit www.nmtracking.org/fire, which includes three maps with examples.